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I’m separated: Can I change my will and disinherit my wife?

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My wife and I have recently separated. I know that she intends to issue divorce proceedings shortly so I want to change my will to ensure that my wife doesn’t inherit from me on my death. Is this possible?

You can change your will in these circumstances but you should be aware that under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, your wife could make a claim against your estate following your death if you don’t make reasonable financial provision for her in your will.

If reasonable financial provision has not been made for your wife in your will then the court could vary the terms of your will and your wife may receive some, or all, of the assets that you have left for your children.

There are two scenarios in which your wife could make this type of claim. If your wife doesn’t issue divorce proceedings, and you do not take this step either, then your wife’s ability to make a claim against your estate following your death will remain as your marriage will not have been dissolved.

If divorce proceedings are issued and concluded, the potential for future financial claims will remain unless you enter into a court order confirming that neither of you will be able to claim against the other’s estate. Without this order, your former wife’s ability to claim against your estate will remain, unless she remarries.

It is possible to change your will in your circumstances, and it may be beneficial for you to do so, but you should not assume that changing your will would prevent your wife from receiving part or all of your estate in the event of your death. It is important that you seek specialist advice from a family lawyer to take steps to bring these potential claims to an end.

For more information on making provisions for your former spouse in your will, or any other aspect of family law, please contact Janine Hutson on 01772 258321.


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